HOUSING TARGETS OFF KILTER

by Amy Rohu
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Amy Rohu

Up to now, the council has mainly built very small numbers of homes on infill sites in existing estates.

Serious concerns have been raised this week over the updated social housing construction targets issued to Dublin local authorities.

The Housing for All plan sees South Dublin County Council’s target set at 3,287 homes. The announcement has been met with criticism from a wide range of representatives, including Palmerstown-Fonthill councillor Madeleine Johansson:

“I’m very concerned about how South Dublin County Council can achieve the targets set out under the plan. Considering that the new build total in 2020 was only 370 homes of which 105 were Part V units provided by private developers. This means that there’s a long way to go to meet the annual target of about 650 homes,” said the People Before Profit representative.

“Up to now, the council has mainly built very small numbers of homes on infill sites in existing estates. Large sites, such as Kilcarbery and Killinarden, have been sold off to private developers for a small percentage of social housing. We need a complete change in how public land is used in order to meet these targets. We need to use the vast tracts of council owned lands in the Clonburris SDZ for social and affordable housing only in order to tackle the housing crisis.”

“Even if the targets set down by the government are met, it will not be enough to meet demand. There are currently about 10 000 households, if you include the HAP transfer list, on the social housing waiting list. To really provide housing for all we need a complete change in housing policy, both nationally and locally.”

While some have raised concerns over social housing targets in Dublin, other issues, such as the development proposed for public land and the practicality of such developments, are being raised by others.

Brian Leeson, the Éirígí representative for the Rathdown area, has announced that a ‘Stand Up For Housing Justice’ protest will take place outside the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum at 1pm this Saturday (Nov 6th).

Speaking from Ballinteer, Leeson said: “We are organising the protest at the CMH on Saturday, November 6th to give people an opportunity to publicly show their opposition to the Land Development Agency’s plans for this hugely important piece of public land.”

“The LDA brought their proposal to build 1,259 homes on the Central Mental Hospital site to An Bord Pleanála for a pre-application consultation in June.”

“The proposed development would be overwhelmingly made up of one and two bedroom apartments, in blocks up to eleven stories high. Just 55 traditional-style houses are included in the LDA plan for the 27 acre site.”

“The LDA have gone into consultation with An Bord Pleanála without revealing any information about the tenure of their proposed development. So we have no idea how many of the proposed homes will be kept in public ownership and how many will be sold off into private ownership.”

He continued: “The plan for the CMH site has too high a density of housing, with far too many one-bed and two-bed apartments.”

“We believe that the CMH site is suited to a development of approximately 1,000 homes made up of low-rise apartment blocks and traditional housing. We believe that about 300 of these homes should be ear-marked for older people from the greater Dundrum area who want to down-size from larger houses that could then be occupied by larger, younger families.”

“All of the housing in a future CMH development should be kept in permanent public ownership as part of a new system of Universal Public Housing. This would ensure that thousands of local people would be able to access affordable, secure housing in the Dundrum area for decades into the future.”

The planned protest at the CMH came after it was revealed that the English property company Hammerson are planning to build almost 900 Build-To-Rent apartments on the site of the old Dundrum Shopping Centre.

Hammerson, the owner of Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin 14, have begun the process of seeking planning permission to develop the site of the Old Shopping Centre and adjacent buildings on Dun-drum Main Street.

The pre-application consultations with An Bord Pleanala and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council have started, and the formal planning application is expected to be lodged early next year.

The current information available on the application is that it is proposing 889 apartments for the site. Local Cllr Daniel Dunne told The Dublin Gazette what he hopes the proposal will offer the area:

“I’m looking forward to examining these proposals in detail. Dundrum needs re-development, and obviously we need new housing supply also. Hopefully the range of housing options available will cater to a range of people, for renters as well as purchasers.”

He continued: “While younger people are finding it hard to get on the ladder, older couples who want to downsize are crying out for properties to buy in the area.

This will be a big development. It has to fit into an overall plan for Dundrum village, which recognises it as a civic and cultural centre, with unique architectural heritage. I hope the owners will engage in real consultation with the Council, local residents and community groups like Imagine Dundrum.”

Imagine Dundrum, a community organisation, are hosting a webinar on November 16 at 8pm and are encouraging local people to register so they can voice their concerns over the proposed development.

On the night there will also be speakers and a discussion from the organisation on their own proposals for the redevelopment of Dundrum Village.

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